Battle Mountain spikers win Round 1 vs. Devils
Huskies sweep past rivals
GYPSUM — Two weeks ago, Battle Mountain volleyball looked as dead as a doornail, losing listlessly to Glenwood Springs in three sets.
Thursday night, the Huskies looked quite vibrant heading into Eagle Valley Homecoming and handing their archrivals a 25-14, 25-13, 25-20 pasting.
“I think we decided we needed to step it up as a team, work more as a team, instead of individual players,” said junior McKenzie Clyncke, who had a breakout night. “I think we have less fear of making mistakes, which we had two weeks ago. We’re here to win.”
And that would be three in a row against Eagle Valley dating back to last season.
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“We accept our mistakes and we’re learning from them,” libero Carly Post said.
How that translated to the court was that the Huskies contested the match throughout, served Eagle Valley off system, passed well and finished off points with thundering attacks from Tatum Huffman and Clyncke.
“We spent that time really connecting as a team, letting go of some of the perfectionism that runs rampant in their age,” Huskies coach Jason Fitzgerald said. “We still want them to be disciplined. We still want to be focused on our team and what we play. Letting them play. We all know we lay an egg once in a while, but we’re not going to throw it all away.”
Where’s the block?
Clyncke moved from right-side hitter to outside hitter. While it changes her responsibilities, it frees her up for more hitting. That she did on Thursday, and that gave Battle Mountain quite the 1-2 punch with Tatum Huffman.
One of the things that makes a Battle Mountain-Eagle Valley meeting fun is that everyone knows everyone. The Huskies and Devils play club ball together.
Therefore, everyone knows that Huffman can hit, which begged the question on Thursday of “where’s the block on No. 5?”
In fairness to Eagle Valley, the team was without Shelbi Lubbers for the second game in a row. She’s a big part of that block, but there was just token opposition to both Huffman and Clyncke.
“We just have not played well the last two matches, too many mistakes,” Devils coach Jackie Rindy said. “When one part goes, the rest tends to follow. We’ll get there.”
Facing a powerful offense in Eagle Valley, the Huskies (6-2 overall and 3-2 in the Slope) got the Devils on their collective back heels with aggressive serving. Drea Pedersen, Huffman and Emma Judge went on runs during Game 1. Sofi Petrovski continued that in Game 2 and Judge took over the third stanza from behind the line.
Put on the Stones
And, thus, Battle Mountain got to listen to the Rolling Stones’ “Sympathy for the Devil” on the ride home, according to Post.
But if the last two weeks have taught us anything, teams can rise and fall pretty quickly. Battle Mountain is home for Steamboat Springs on Tuesday, followed by hosting the Queen of the Mountain Tournament next weekend.
Meanwhile, Eagle Valley (5-5, 2-2) heads to Rifle on Thursday.
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